Balloon artist Nowak creates memories for all occasions


Olivia Nowak, of Olivia’s Balloon Creations, holds up a gigantic beer balloon design (Submitted photos)

Up, up and away — Olivia Nowak set out from Chicago to Arizona — with her beautiful balloons.

Like the lyrics to the song about balloons, Ms. Nowak, a Scottsdale resident and CEO of Olivia’s Balloon Creations, takes her talent in balloon artistry so she can fly away with it to make special events memorable, creating balloon designs for all occasions.

Her artistic, balloon decorating business inflates memories for weddings, birthdays, Quinceañeras, corporate parties and more.

Displays range from intricate designs such as a pacifier made of a gigantic balloon for a baby shower to whimsical balloon designs leading to the front door to resemble a castle entrance.

Decor is customized to themes and spaces, Ms. Nowak, 41, said of her business of 25 years that doesn’t require a storefront since she often designs for clients on-site.

Balloon zoo animal-themed baby shower (Submitted photo)

“We know how to make your event a magical one to remember. We can transform the simplest setting into a magical wonderland,” said Ms. Nowak whose first job was working for a party store at 15.

“I discovered that I had a natural gift of creativity. I loved working with the brides and moms-to- be. Ideas were flowing from my brain. I always knew how to work with them,” she said.

Ms. Nowak said she always had a gift to work with what someone could afford.

“I’ve had customers spend anywhere from $50 to $5,000 for balloons. I work with all budgets,” she said.

Customers text or email her a picture so she can work off their inspiration, she said, or she can create unique pieces for them without a picture by sketching drafts of what they may envision.

Customer experiences

Olivia Nowak stands with one of her arch creations. (Submitted photo)

“I know everybody has a specialty and that is definitely a creative art. She is open to suggestions and can come up with something,” said Janie Riddle, president, Valley of the Sun Chapter of National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame.

Ms. Nowak recently provided balloon decor and arches for the Scholar Athlete of the Year ceremony’s 38th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villa where she does the group’s balloon decorations every year.

“The balloon table bouquets makes the rooms look vibrant. If you are looking for somebody who is fun and creative and easy to work with and can do something special she’s very, very good at what she does,” said Ms. Riddle.

She is among the many who left positive reviews on Yelp and Google for the decorating service.

Pastel themed party (Submitted photo)

“I also used her for my granddaughter’s Sweet 16th birthday,” she said, describing two huge floor bouquets in pink, ivory and rose gold. “She walked in the room and went, ‘Oh my, grandma!’ You only turn 16 once, I told her.”

She detailed the elaborate pillar-style art and columns in gold with the No. 1 on one and a gold six on the other. Inside the big balloon on top, she said, was gold confetti. The balloon display was even used inside as a backdrop for a family picture.

Wedding coordinator and Salt Lake City native Regina Cazares has worked with Ms. Nowak since they met at church in Chicago 20 years ago. She even moved to Arizona and continued their business relationship before heading back to her hometown.

“Awestruck is the best word to describe what she does. She can put together anything,” said Ms. Cazares.
She noted how their professional partnership began during Y2K events and has lasted since.

“We’ve known each other since Chicago back in 1999,” she said. “Ever since then, we have been working together. We have done so many events together and I could count on her not just for balloons but for all things.”

Describing her as meticulous and a perfectionist, she and Ms. Nowak’s clients are impressed with how the balloon connoisseur can design anything, even without a picture, making it look as good or better than one can imagine.

The craft

“I listen to my customers and want to get into their world for that moment. I ask them to tell me about their event, their colors, their vision; and from there, I start envisioning all these various creations,” Ms. Nowak said.

Balloon pacifiers for baby shower (Submitted photo)

“I share my ideas with my customers, sometimes sketch them out for them so they can have a visual. Other times, customers will come to me with a photo of something they want replicated and ask if I’m able to do that — the answer has almost always been ‘Yes.’”

Despite her expansive talents, she requires a concerted effort, however, for balloon twisty animals. She prefers to avoid them, citing their complexity of even the simplest design.

“For example, last night (April 1) I was working on a Mickey Mouse sculpture for a boy’s birthday. Mickey’s suspenders are made out of yellow twist balloons,” she said. “It took me forever to tie the balloons and get them to stay where they needed to stay.”

Ms. Nowak enjoys being creative, crafty and doing something special for others to make them feel happy.

“Why not incorporate both talents that make me happy and help others by helping them bring their events into a magical and memorable setting with creative balloon designs?” she said.

“I enjoyed seeing people’s expressions when they simply received a bouquet of balloons; when I was able to help them turn their dream wedding decor into a reality or when an individual won an award for my displays.”

Whimsical design leading to entrance (Submitted photo)

Ms. Nowak, who has a bachelor’s in business management, stays busy working a full-time job in the corporate world, for the past 20 years, in addition to running her part-time decorating business, and volunteering with charities.

She also belongs to a Balloon Network to meet peers, learn new trends, designs and share work to refine her craft.

Aside from making time to be a foster parent and volunteering as a Sunday School teacher, she enjoys traveling the world on her spare time and spending time with her teacup Yorkie.

“I have been to every continent except Antartica,” Ms. Nowak said, adding that she has been to more than 35 countries.

“I am first generation American, speak three languages, love to travel, love playing in my softball league and going to baseball games when I can. I also use my computer mouse upside down which is always a great conversation starter.”

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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